Circuit Sweet Live Review : Tera Melos @ HMV Institute Birmingham UK
Tera Melos, the Sacramento based three piece have built up more than a reputation for themselves in the 7 attentive years their name has been known. The band have been pushing their creativity, rightfully gaining the success they deserve following their formation in 2004; after the disbandment of Nick Reinhart and Nathan Latonas’ former outfit - No Regard. A year of intense rehearsals before the band stepped into the limelight for their live debut must feel like a lifetime ago for the original members. 1 Split, 5 EP’s and 3 Albums later the reputable band are currently signed to Sargent House and have finally embarked on their first UK tour.
Tera Melos kick started their tour playing the notorious Forbidden Fruit Festival in Dublin, followed by live appearances in London, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham. Saturday 11th June-the half way mark of the Band’s UK leg- The HMV Institute Birmingham opened its doors to the iconic band; or more so Stone Cold Jane Austen (a new Birmingham based promoter) allowed the doors to be opened for what was an incredible night.
Tera Melos’ headline Birmingham debut coincided with the launch night of SCJA Promotions; and for their first gig night, what a line up!
The night consisted of opening band Conquistadors, of which 2 members make up SCJA Promotions, without them Birmingham is lacking that specific gig night. &U&I, Shapes and Tangled Hair also provided support until Tera Melos took to the stage. Stone Cold Jane Austen was formed by musicians James Sharp and Oz Powles. Co- Founder James recently stated the aim was to bring International-Standard Artists to Birmingham who may otherwise have bypassed the city.
If the rest of their dates are to go by the success of their launch night; Birmingham and music lovers across the Midlands are in for a treat.
Throughout the entire night, the atmosphere and appreciation for everyone attending the same event truly was invigorating. One of the very few nights where everybody respectfully enjoyed their surroundings, company and of course the music. Every attendee’s mutual love and excitement for the music bouncing from one another. This again reflects how well SCJA achieved their goal.
The patiently waiting dedicated fans that stood their ground in order not to miss the headlining extraordinaire’ were finally granted the moment they’d been anticipating, as the stage rapidly changed over. Tera Melos arrived.
A moment of silence fell as Nick Reinhart, Nathan Latona, John Clardy and an additional fourth member (with help from long-time friend) Evan Jewett all stood modestly reserved. Turned out nobody was ready for the explosive beginning to their set. The band tore their opener “Kelly” to almighty fucking shreds, blazing their introduction and building upon their sound as their stage time progressed.
Their set compromised as a showcase to their newer material established in their recent sophomore album; last years Patagonian Rats which was released through La based label Sargent House.
Bolting through track upon track, building up structures just to demolish the outcome; with abusive shredding, strumming and shifting tempos/timing, the band created a combustive portrayal of chaotically controlled melodic orchestration.
Playing recognized tracks such as “The Skin Surf” which held such a strong rhythm that all listeners’ united and had no choice but to move themselves with the beat. Hard hitting kick drum accompanied the up scale riffs. Tweaking effects gathered together to enhance Nick’s wholesome melodic vocals; of which reached higher notes than previous tracks, escalating with the current sheering in-depth sounds resonating throughout.
Visually, we were all witnessing one of the most energetic and enthusiastic performing live band of our time, in fact it goes without saying that Reinhart is an unrightfully underrated front man. The talent and domination of this musician throughout his work is momentous. Reinhart has to be one of the best front men of this generation through his own abilities. Tap dancing, harmonized vocals, screaming, shredding, spitting and strumming during constantly running across his 2 voluminous pedal boards controlling his tone, samples and effects. He clearly focused and directed every last ounce of energy he had left to put into his live performance. This was more than just showboating, Reinhart has a connection to his sound and was clearly in his element; controlling everything and everyone who became fixated with such onstage eccentricity.
The bands presence throughout tracks such as “Aped” never once faltered. The stand out track on the Patagonian Rats album was pleasantly delivered much to the same standards‘. Precise, fast, powering notes with hushed yet passionate vocals. Providing a mellower contrast, with subtle electronics and alternate vocal lines. Contrasting fills, continuation of stop/start cymbal crashes, hardened with exaggerated bass notes and finger taps. The distinguishing harmony balanced out the arduous, immersing noise.
Progressive musical interludes hauled their set further, when “Frozen Zoo” ‘s most distinguished riff oscillated into surroundings, the crowd commended the high octane track. Psychotic fretwork, shifting chord structure and tasty hooks escorted the more mature effort from the band’s behalf. Sequential vocals from both Nick and Evan, who frequently supplied an additional guitar and added synth, correlated the current composition. Latona filling the track with brazen, repetitive bass riffs forcing the current whistle like effect to hold an eerie ambiance whilst still remaining an infectious intonation.
The set consisted of a variation of track lengths. They skilfully balanced between providing some post-rock length songs but only familiar in the structure; as their tracks are each attacked with brutality, fusing more samples, tweaks, beats and notes as physically possible; To shorter implements, still displaying the energy that thrives from one another. Their set list broke up the consistent fast paced changes and mood shifting
As they truly hurtled through their set, Reinhart announced they had reached their encore, but rather than leave the stage to return again he saw no point as appreciation for the trio overwhelmed their accomplishment. The band had no time for breathers as they blitzed themselves and their tracks to their audience. As Evan left the stage, requests were flooding in as to what could be that encore track. Reinhart attempted to discourage the specific request he was receiving but ensured all not
to be disappointed, with a cheeky wink the three pursued
into the track everyone desired.
Taken from their 2nd EP “Drugs to the Dear Youth” the extended and nothing short of epic track “40 Rods to the Hogs Head”, over 8minutes of ever- changing structures and time signatures.
All of which heightened by the phenomenal use of samples, loops and angular riffs. Each fighting for their chance to peak in such a wave of melodic fury.
This track highlighted John’s abilities throughout, illustrating his controlled achievements to learn such a developed beat coalition.
The band have previously stated they give “an unconventional performance”, this they can proudly stand by. Dynamically their set was a lot to take in. Visually leaving you questioning what you just saw, hearing left in hiding, leaving you speechless. A sign of a powerful act.
It was truly an honour to see such an inspirational outfit perform a tight, engaging rapture bringing set- And finally being able to play the UK after years of trying.
Stone Cold Jane Austen should be incredibly proud for all attendees’ left in amazement.
We spoke to promoter Oz, regarding how they feel their launch night went:
“Overall James and I were very, very happy with the gig. Our main aim was to get a great Sargent House band to play Birmingham and pair them up with the best that the city had to offer and we definitely did that. We wanted to get the gig out there and people talking about it and the articles in the printed press (especially in the Metro and Brumnotes) and on the web really helped get a buzz going about this gig. Hopefully that interest is carried over into the scene in Birmingham too.
It was a pleasure to work with so many nice people on the night as well as the labels in advance and ACDSleeve who made the 50 CDs that we gave away on the night. Having Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos) praise and thank Stone Cold Jane Austen on stage was a definite highlight. You never see that happening so I guess we must have done something right! That just proves to us what we already knew. If you are fed up with seeing your favourite bands skip your town/city or if you’re not happy with your local promoters, give it a go yourself. If you’re passionate, have common sense and aren’t trying to make a quick buck then it’s totally doable and well worth the effort. ”
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Photos by - Oli Montez